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Social media users prosecuted over photos of James Bulger killers, Jon Venables, Robert Thompson

Britain's attorney general is prosecuting social media users who circulated photos of the child killers, whose identities are protected by court order.

Social media users 2013 2 26Enlarge
Social media users are finding themselves on the wrong side of the law. (AFP/Getty Images)

Be careful what you tweet or post.

UK Attorney General Dominic Grieve has launched contempt of court proceedings against Internet users who circulated photographs purportedly to be of child killers Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, Agence France-Presse reported Tuesday.

“A number of individuals” who posted the photos on Twitter could face a jail sentence, Breakingnews said.

Venables and Thompson were jailed for life over the 1993 murder of two-year-old James Bulger in Liverpool. But the pair was released on parole in 2001 and given new identities under the protection of a court order.

But photographs recently surfaced on Twitter allegedly showing Venables and Thompson as they are now, aged 30, the AFP said.

“There is an injunction in place which prevents publication of any images or information purporting to identify anyone as Jon Venables or Robert Thompson. The terms of the order mean that if a picture claims to be of Venables or Thompson, even if it is not actually them, there will be a breach of the order,” Grieve said in a statement carried by The Drum.

“The injunction applies to both media organizations and individuals. Anyone who has posted material online which is in breach of the terms of the order should remove this material immediately. Breaches of the order may be a contempt of court punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment.”

This isn’t the first time social media users have found themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Remember Lord McAlpine?

The senior UK Conservative party politician successfully sued the BBC over a report that falsely suggested he was a pedophile.

The report didn’t name him – Twitter users did that.

According to the Guardian, Lord McAlpine recently dropped legal action against hundreds of social media users, but has vowed to pursue Sally Bercow, the wife of the Commons speaker, over her tweets.

Lord McAlpine is seeking GBP50,000 in damages from Bercow in what the BBC said was expected to be the “first High Court Twitter libel trial.”
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/130226/social-media-users-photos-james-bulger-killers-jon-venables-robert-thompson